Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science.  Die fröhliche Wissenschaft.

First published in 1882.

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Personal Providence.  There is a certain climax in life, at which, notwithstanding all our freedom, and however much we may have denied all directing reason and goodness in the beautiful chaos of existence, we are once more in great danger of intellectual bondage, and have to face our hardest test.  For now the thought of a personal Providence first presents itself before us with its most persuasive force, and has the best of advocates, apparentness, in its favour, now when it is obvious that all and everything that happens to us always turns out for the best.  The life of every day and of every hour seems to be anxious for nothing else but always to prove this proposition anew; let it be what it will, bad or good weather, the loss of a friend, a sickness, a calumny, the non receipt of a letter, the spraining of one's foot, a glance into a shop window, a counter argument, the opening of a book, a dream, a deception: it shows itself immediately, or very soon afterwards, as something "not permitted to be absent," it is full of profound significance and utility precisely for us!  Is there a more dangerous temptation to rid ourselves of the belief in the Gods of Epicurus, those careless, unknown Gods, and believe in some anxious and mean Divinity, who knows personally every little hair on our heads, and feels no disgust in rendering the most wretched services?  Well I mean in spite of all this!  we want to leave the Gods alone (and the serviceable genii likewise), and wish to content ourselves with the assumption that our own practical and theoretical skilfulness in explaining and suitably arranging events has now reached its highest point.  We do not want either to think too highly of this dexterity of our wisdom, when the wonderful harmony which results from playing on our instrument sometimes surprises us too much: a harmony which sounds too well for us to dare to ascribe it to ourselves.  In fact, now and then there is one who plays with us beloved Chance: he leads our hand occasionally, and even the all wisest Providence could not devise any finer music than that of which our foolish hand is then capable.  
 

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